From Camelot to the Gutter,

Today comes to mind a play I saw in Poland many years ago immediately after the fall of Communism. In the darkened theatre an actor came to center stage and into a single spotlight. He was dressed in black. The man looked around at the audience in silence, paused, and said in a strong clear voice as in a declaration – only one word – żal. He bowed his head, dropped his arms to his sides, and the stage went dark. Silence followed. Zal is the Polish word for utter sadness and tragedy. It is żal that comes to mind today.

I remember, as a toddler , being taken to see Franklin Roosevelt. The great man appeared waving from the railroad overpass in Springfield, Massachusetts. The crowd roared a tumultuous greeting and I saw adults with tears in their eyes recalling, of course, the long Great Depression. I recall JFK and was in Wichita Falls, Texas at Sheppard AFB when he was assassinated in Dallas. I served as an Air Force SAC Combat Crew officer under his command during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In my life and memory I have now seen my country go from from the “Great Society” to separating children from their parents and putting them in concentration camps. Today we have a president who publicly mocked a disabled person and stands accused by several women of numerous occasions of sexual harassment. I have seen my country go from Camelot to the Gutter. żal!

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